UCL Grand Challenges



In addition to the overall Grand Challenge focus on the UN SDGs, there are areas of interest for each Grand Challenge

Pan-Grand Challenge Themes

The six Grand Challenges work together to support work under overarching themes:

Place: Equality & Prosperity - Experiences of inequalities are inextricably intertwined with place. The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly highlighted – and exacerbated - health, economic, educational, and social inequalities. This theme supports projects that adopt a place-based lens to allow for a sharper focus on the intersection of geographies with wider structural disadvantages.

Intergenerational Dynamics - Age is a critical lens through which to understand the complexity of our societies and to ensure their sustainable and equitable development. This theme supports collaborations that address the relationship between generations and experiences of life and wellbeing and examining these issues in a wider social, political, and economic context.

UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement - This theme supports cross-disciplinary and cross-boundary collaborations that address the achievement of the SDGs (the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals), also known as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

> Learn more about Grand Challenges' alignment with the UN SDGs 
> Visit the UCL SDG website

Areas of interest

We also welcome any topic of relevance to one of the six Grand Challenges and we encourage creative and original ideas.  

Cultural Understanding

  • Decolonising Research
  • Cultural Engagement & Wellbeing
  • Growing up Multicultural
  • Immigration
  • Dynamics of Globalisation

Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding

Global Health

  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Health inequities
  • Mental health
  • Recovery from COVID-19
  • Environment and health

Grand Challenge of Global Health

Human Wellbeing

  • Achieving happiness
  • Environment and wellbeing
  • Adolescent and student wellbeing
  • Ageing well
  • Research ethics

Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing

Justice & Equality

  • Structural & Relational Inequalities
  • Cultural Heritage & Diversity
  • Democracy & Place
  • Exclusion & Displacement
  • Access & Participation

Grand Challenge of Justice and Equality

Sustainable Cities

  • Future Cities
  • Rethinking Housing
  • Resourcing Cities
  • Transformative Cities
  • Urban Mobility

Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities

Transformative Technology

  • Bigger Data, Better Data
  • Disability Innovation
  • Nature-Inspired Engineering
  • Responsible Innovation
  • Waste

Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology


Find out more